Offline Joy: Designing Design by Kenya Hara

Published 30 April 2008

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: graphics, display technology

I don’t know how well the store Muji is known across the globe, but its been in the UK for sometime and their products are pretty slick. All white, black, all slick, green sensitive packaging and pretty brand free. The guy behind their design aesthetic (seriously, the catalog is a thing beauty), is Kenya Hara.

This is one of the first books by him made available in English language (the Japanese ones are worth digging out if you can find them, even if you can’t read them). The official publishers blurb says “In “Designing Design”, he impresses upon the reader the importance of “emptiness” in both the visual and philosophical traditions of Japan, and its application to design, made visible by means of numerous examples from his own work: Hara for instance designed the opening and closing ceremony programs for the Nagano Winter Olympic Games 1998.

What I would add is that if you’re interested in design, whatever sort, graphic, product, industrial, architecture, this book is worth spending the time to sit and consider the thoughts put forward. Its crammed full of some wonderful illustrations, photos and the like and I’m sure would give you some inspiration. You can pick up a copy for 40 euros or there about. My favourite line from is this is:

“The world looks differently if you just sit with your chin in your hand and think”

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